About Our Design Program

The Graphic Design program at Tompkins Cortland Community College is part of a trio of programs, including Photography and New Media, that create a vibrant Art Department at the college. The Graphic Design Program is led by Chair and full-time Assistant Professor Christine J. Shanks, who teaches many of the computer based courses in the program. Several talented and established local artists teach our hands-on design, drawing, and painting courses, they are: InShik Lee, Kim Schrag, Chris Wolff, and Maria McMahon. Additionally, Cynthia Kjellander-Cantu’ is an exceptional tutor and professional graphic designer, who helps students learn the Adobe software programs and work through projects outside of class.

As a student in the Graphic Design Program, you will study design fundamentals on and off the computer, design and art history, drawing, painting, photography, typography, digital image-making in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and layout in Adobe InDesign. All of your courses will lead to a professional portfolio course where you will learn how to write a resume, design a personal brand, and develop a website for your portfolio.

The Art Department also offers special Project-Based Learning courses that create a beneficial partnership between students and clients in the local community. Very few colleges offer such a well-rounded, professional experience for their students. Students who qualify to participate in the ALEX 249 courses graduate with incredible portfolio pieces and real work experience to include in their resume. Published pieces help propel design students into successful careers or towards admission or a scholarship to a four-year college Bachelors program.

Please visit and check us out! The Graphic Design Program at Tompkins Cortland Community College has much to offer future designers. You may contact Chair Christine J. Shanks directly with any questions, or use the form below.